Singer Katy Perry wants to buy L.A. convent, in fight with nuns, archbishop

Bet no one ever expected to read these words: Katy Perry wants to live in a hilltop Catholic convent in Los Angeles.

But wait, there's more: She wants to buy a convent that two elderly nuns have already sold to someone else, and they don't want to sell to the likes of sexpot singer Katy Perry (even if she was raised a good Christian girl).

But now the nuns are in trouble with their local archbishop, who says they don't own the convent and had no right to sell it. And he wants to sell to Perry.

So Perry waits patiently to hand over close to $15 million (hey, it's in the trendy Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A.) in cash to whoever does have the right to sell it.

For weeks, lawyers for Archbishop Jose Gomez, the nuns and businesswoman Dana Hollister, who wants to turn it into a restaurant and bar, have lobbed accusations of dirty dealings over the convent, which sits atop a hill near Hollywood. A judge on Thursday will consider whether to block Hollister's access to the property, which she has already begun cleaning up after purchasing it from the nuns in June, according to The Associated Press.

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Hollywood couldn't make this stuff up. In fact, the story was all over People and US Weekly on Monday, not to mention scores of local media publications, because there's nothing more fun for Los Angelenos than chortling over a juicy real-estate battle.

Even one involving nuns. Maybe especially one involving nuns.

"I swear on a Bible," joked Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez in his column on the case Monday.

Perry, who was just named by Forbes magazine as the highest-paid female entertainer in the world ($135 million), is demonstrating her financial clout by attempting to purchase the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent, a villa-style estate on several acres with spectacular views of downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Two of the five nuns who once lived there (it once housed more than 50), Sr. Rita Callanan, 77, and Sr. Catherine Rose, 86, said the nuns bought the property years after the diocese forced them to move elsewhere.

In order to cover their living expenses in old age, they recently sold it to restaurateur Hollister for $15.5 million. Hollister has already moved in.

But Gomez, claiming that the property belongs to the diocese, has been negotiating with Perry, who's willing to pay $14.5 million in cash.

The Times reported she tried to sweet-talk the nuns (has this ever worked?) by meeting with them, wearing conservative clothing, and singing "Oh, Happy Day" for them. Sister Rita says Perry told them she wanted to live on the property with her mother and grandmother, sit in the meditation garden, sip green tea and find herself.

It sounded nice, but Sister Rita decided to do some Googling.

"Well, I found Katy Perry and I found her videos and ... if it's all right to say, I wasn't happy with any of it," Sister Rita told the Times. She also tuned into the Super Bowl when Perry performed Teenage Dream during the halftime show. It did not leave a good impression.

So now what? Lawyers are involved, naturally. Real estate agents are involved, naturally. A judge is involved, naturally. And maybe the Vatican might have to get involved, too.

"So it'll be left to the courts, if not the pope, to figure it all out," Lopez concluded.

Just another L.A. real-estate tale. With nuns.


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